Book review: Machinations (Last Resistance #1) by Hayley Stone

Number of Stars: 3 of 5

Genre: Science fiction/Post-apocalyptic/Robots

Edition: Kindle E-book

This book took awhile to get off the ground, clogged with waiting/watching scenes, and that is why I didn’t give it more stars, but it picked up in the last 60% and I really enjoyed the ending!


Rhona is a phenomenal main character. She’s spunky, true to herself, brave, and yet possesses those human emotions like embarrassment, frustration, worry and sadness. She acted very human to me. No different than her original in my opinion, despite what Camus says. I was afraid going into this book that the main story being about a clone would fall flat or being predictable and uber cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised and engaged with clone Rhona instead.


Stone is a witty writer. If you have qualms about reading about a love-sick clone, uptight military friends surrounding her, and machines out to kill anyone, at LEAST read this book for the one-liners and crass jokes Rhona frequently drops.


I’m going to see how the rest of the series progresses!

Rly girl

Book Review: “Renegades” (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

Number of Stars: 3 of 5

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dystopia/Comic Superhero

Edition: Paperback

This was a refreshing and fun superhero novel, mainly because the villains sometimes weren’t so villainous and the heroes didn’t always act like heroes.

However, I give this book an “interesting” nod and 3 stars because half the characters were cookie-cutter, the plot dragged in the middle with slow scenes that were perhaps supposed to stoke the budding romance between Nova and Sketch, but which only succeeded in being dull.


The biggest thing I admire about Meyer’s take on a superhero novel was how FRESH she made a lot of the abilities feel! She wove in so many new ones that she made up to or drew from inspiration. I’ve tried my hand at writing superhero novels before, especially with a huge cast, and I know it’s not easy making up super-human powers/abilities and describing them so that a reader gets the idea of what you’re trying to describe.


Meyer did a great job juggling a huge cast of characters and introducing new ones quickly into scenes. Some of them hardly got any time in the spotlight, (I’m looking at you, Phobia) but I have a feeling that Meyer might have done that intentionally; that those characters are going to be more influential in the next book or two.


I intend on reading the rest of the series, but not right away. I need a little break from superheroes.

-Rlygirl

Book review: The Empire of Gold (Daevabad #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

Number of Stars: Solid 5 of 5!

Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Magic

Edition: Hardcover

I’ve been thinking for 3 days what kind of epic review to write for the end of this epic series, but I decided I’ll just go: Thank you Chakraborty. Thanks for creating the amazing cast of characters that are still living in my head, and your talent in wrangling so many different plot lines safely to the end.


The 3 main protagonists – Nahri, Dara, and Ali – were a joy to read about. They were well rounded, not fluff. They had an arc to their story.


I loved how we got to find out Nahri’s back story and even some of Ali’s super secret family history as well. Dara, while sometimes acting like an anti hero, will always remain my favorite character.


I was a little sad at the ending, at how some of the characters took different paths and choices, but the longer I think about it, the more I think the ending was perfect in its own way.


I will be rereading this series and enjoying the world of Daevabad for years to come.

Rlygirl

Book review: “Slave, Warrior, Queen” by Morgan Rice

Number of Stars: 1 of 5

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic

Edition: Audiobook

This is DNF (did not finish) for me.

I enjoyed the story – especially on a long car ride in audiobook, but stopped reading right after Ceres was hired as the prince’s weapon’s master.


There were a few days where she had no where to sleep except his weirdo cabin for a future bride that wasn’t her… and then suddenly the plot changed; she was in a tower in the castle, getting fitted with a fab dress and handmaiden and everything, and there was NO – absolutely – NO explanation about WHY a girl off the streets like herself was suddenly granted the right to live in the palace… such a disconnect. It’s almost like Rice skipped a vital chapter or something?


Just weird. Weird book, weird plot movement, plenty of tropes about fathers leaving, special sword made just for her, falling in love with a prince that could never be her’s, etc. I’m done.

Rlygirl

Book Review: “Skyward” by Brandon Sanderson

Number of Stars: 4 of 5

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

Edition: Softcover

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What a magnificent roller coaster of a book ride! Sanderson filled this book with action, suspense, snark, and a host of funny, memorable characters. I even enjoyed reading the Acknowledgments afterward and learning that he had 2 real life fighter pilots as beta readers, giving him advice on the flying technicalities and lingo as he went through the writing process. And it shows. I’d safely accuse Sanderson of putting a ton of personal love and time into this new series. I enjoyed it immensely!
At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like the protagonist, Spensa, since she started out SO over the top with a put on bad-ass, even cliche attitude to try to stick up for herself and gain some respect, but as the book went on she grew more relatable.
The cast of characters surrounding her were amazing as well. Some of my top favorites are grumpy, wise-cracking instructor Cobb, goofy Kimmalyn with her bizarre Saint quotes and fun-loving, energetic co-pilots like Bim and “Hurl”. Can’t wait to read the sequel!

Book review: The Dark Days Deceit – (Lady Helen #3) by Alison Goodman

Number of stars: 3 of 5

Genre: Paranormal fantasy/Historical fiction/YA

Edition: Hardcover

Dark day #3

 

Although this was hands down the best book out of the Dark Days series, it was a disappointing ending to the trilogy. Definitely less dress-up, balls, parties and general playing around with Regency aspects, and more demon hunting/fighting going on, but I felt that after the Grand Deceiver was defeated our hero and heroine (Helen and Carlson) should have had more of the spotlight in the last chapter. The reader’s reward for getting through the book and getting to that happy ending? One and a half pages at best.
This was not my favorite work of Goodmans. If you want a light, period romance with minimal fantasy and actual action with demons, this is your book. I started the series with high hopes but finished it feeling rather underwhelmed.

 

-Rlygirl

Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri

I love this review of Book 5 of Andrea Camerilli’s hillarious and endearing Inspector Montalbanno by a fellow blogger!

Patrick Sherriff

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In Montalbano’s fifth adventure, I’m really getting to love the Sicilian inspector’s  eccentricities. It’s quite a joy to see our devil-may-care hero pick locks, break up marriages, sleep under olive trees and lie to his superiors all in the pursuit of true, rather than letter-of-the-law, justice. He demonstrates an admirable contempt for pen-pushers, mafioso bullies, and office hours, while also displaying a personal flaw or two, notably one for delicious Sicilian food, which makes welcome appearances throughout the mystery, this one concerning three murders, pornography and a conspiracy that goes, as you’d expect, right to the top of Sicilian society.  Great fare.

No. 33 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.

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Book Review “Kingdom of Copper” by S. A. Chakraborty

Number of stars: 5 of 5

Genre: Fantasy/high fantasy, adult fiction

Edition: Hardcover

Kingdom of copper

Wow wow wow! This book was even better than the first one. Loved how the author wrote each chapter by alternating between the three main protagonist’s views: Nahri, Ali, and Dara.
Nahri definitely redeemed herself (in my personal opinion) in this book. She is feisty, brilliant, and shrewd. Loved how she interacted with her patients and her in-laws.
Ali has changed a little since the first epic book and even though he’s afraid and disgusted at his new powers, I like them. I like how he’s always doing good for people despite the consequences to himself.
I didn’t expect to hear from Dara again after that cliffhanger in book one, but there were nice flashbacks/perspective of what is (was?) going on in his life while he was away from Deavabad.
And the best part about this book was it NEVER let up! I was gobbling it and staying up late at night to read more chapters. Wonderful movement and gripping narrative. There’s so much action here, political conundrums, magic, suspense, and romance.
Definitely an adult fantasy. Read more like high fantasy for me and I would be lost without the “dramatis personae” in the front pages. There are so many people to keep track of.

 

Review of “Shades of Earth” by Beth Revis.

Number of stars: 4 out of 5

Genre: Sci-fi, Space opera, Romance

Edition: Paperback

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The last book in the series deserves serious applause! I enjoyed being introduced into a strange universe and life on “Godspeed” in the 1st book “Across the Universe”, slogged through the middle book “A Million Suns” and resolved to read the last one just so that I would know how the story ends.
SO glad that I did! This was my favorite book in the trilogy.

Here’s why.
1: Amy continues to be a cool detective character, letting her burning curiosity lead her when the humans (all those born and raised on the mother ship “Godspeed” and those from Earth frozen for centuries) land on Centauri-Earth and start exploring their new home.
2: I’ve been waiting for Elder to grow a backbone forEVER in this series and he did a little in this book as he assumed leadership of his people, and went toe-to-toe with Amy’s father.
3: We were introduced to new characters that really lent excitement, intrigue and even cuddly feels in this story, such as Emma Bledsoe (loved her), Chris (ended up hating his guts), and Kit (the sweet apprentice medic from “Godspeed”).
4: The plot moved! There was very little downtime. The colony of mixed humans were so busy trying to survive, work together, and figure out what the “frex” was trying to kill them that they didn’t have time for slow scenes. Loved it.
5: The ENDING! Stars, that was a great ending. I must confess after the end of Chapter 69 (spoiler; view it here on Goodreads.com) I was absolutely furious at the author! But I kept reading at a quick pace, and was finally able to breath again at the end of Chapter 79. Then I switched to clapping for Revis instead of cursing her.

This is a great series for space opera fans, and fans of light YA romance! There were some disgusting scenes about autopsy since Amy’s mother was a scientist…so if you get a queasy stomach like me, skip over those parts.

Read on!

-Rlygirl

 

Review of “Hex Hall” by Rachel Hawkins

Number of stars: 3 out of 5

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Edition: Audio book

 

Hex Hall

I usually don’t go for the whole “supernatural girl meets supernatural boy; cue ‘Twilight’ vibes” kind of book, but I enjoyed this one. Plus the cover is fun.
Sophie is a gifted teenager who uses her powers in public – at a school dance no less – and consequently gets sent to a private school for other supernatural kids like her to learn about and/or control said powers.
One adventure leads to another, and she ends up having a VERY unusual and stressful first year.
Hawkins has a talent for plot twists and quickly introducing the reader to new characters in a way that makes the reader care about the outcome.
My biggest complaint with this read though, is I could have used fewer cheeky references to how obviously nerdy and teenager-y Sophie’s life is. Too much. I don’t need to be told every time she is beating herself up for having regular girl feelings, (Seriously? Developing a hard crush for someone on your first day?) or repeating what the popular girls were acting like; “whole hair flip thing”. Those moments were distracting and slowed the story down. I just wanted to say “yeah yeah, we know that being a teenager means you over-think things, and use the words ‘like’ and ‘suck’ too much. Let’s move on.”
I’m interested to see where Sophie’s adventures and her path to discovering/dealing with her powers takes her next.